John Knox: A Prayer from Edinburgh, 12 March 1565

Modernized by Sam Caldwell from The Works of John Knox, VI.483–84


Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and put an end, at Your good pleasure, to this my miserable life, for justice and truth are not to be found amongst the sons of men!

John Knox, with deliberate mind, to his God.

Be merciful to me, O Lord, and call not into judgment my manifold sins, and chiefly those whereof the world is not able to accuse me. In youth, mid age, and now, after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption. For, in quietness I am negligent, in trouble impatient, tending to desperation, and in the mean [middle] state, I am so carried away with vain fantasies that, alas, O Lord, they withdraw me from the presence of Your Majesty. Pride and ambition assault me on the one part, covetousness and malice trouble me on the other. Briefly, O Lord, the affections of the flesh do almost suppress the operation of Your Spirit.

I take You, O Lord (who only knows the secrets of hearts), to record that in the name of the aforesaid I do delight, but that with them I am troubled, and that sore against the desire of my inward man, which sobs for my corruption, and would repose in Your mercy alone. To the which I claim, and that in the promise that You have made to all penitent sinners (of whose number I profess myself to be one) in the obedience and death of my only Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. In whom, by Your mere grace, I doubt not myself to be elected to eternal salvation, whereof You have given to me (to me, O Lord, most wretched and unthankful creature) most assured signs. For being drowned in ignorance, You have given to me knowledge above the common sort of my brethren. My tongue have You used to set forth Your glory, to oppugn idolatry, errors, and false doctrine. You have compelled me to fore-speak, as well deliverance to the afflicted as destruction to certain inobedient [disobedient ones], the performance whereof, not I alone, but the very blind world has already seen.

But above all, O Lord, You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, have sealed into my heart remission of my sins, which I acknowledge and confess myself to have received by the precious blood of Jesus Christ once shed, by whose perfect obedience I am assured my manifold rebellions are defaced, my grievous sins purged, and my soul made the tabernacle of Your godly Majesty. You, O Father of mercies, Your Son our Lord Jesus, my only Savior, Mediator, and Advocate, and Your Holy Spirit, remaining in the same by true faith, which is the only victory that overcomes the world.

To You, therefore, O Lord, I commend my spirit, for I thirst to be resolved [loosed, freed] from this body of sin, and am assured that I shall rise again in glory, howsoever it be that the wicked, for a time, shall trod me, and others Your servants, under their feet.

Be merciful, O Lord, to the Kirk [church] within this realm. Continue with it the light of Your Evangel [gospel]. Augment the number of true preachers. And let Your merciful providence look upon my desolate bedfellow, the fruit of her bosom, and my two dear children, Nathanael and Eleazar.

Now, Lord, put end to my misery!

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